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1
Searching
Successfully to
Reveal Your
Ancestor’s Story on
Ancestry.com
Anne Gillespie Mitchell
NGS 2014
What is our end goal?
•Not a pile of papers
•Not a nice organized notebook of
records, images and family group
sheets
•We want to tell our family story
2
How do I tell my family story
Method 1:
– Do a lot of research
– Sit down in front of Word
– Wait for divine inspiration
3
The Story
4
The Story
5
How do I tell my family story
Method 2:
1. Learn multiple ways to search
2. Build the foundation
3. Analyze what you find; write up
random thoughts and ideas as you go
4. Ask yourself what should I do next?
6
Search Tip #1: Start with the Basic Facts
7
Global searches = 31,000+ titles, 13 billion+ records
Search Tip #1: Start with the Basic Facts
8
1) What makes your ancestor unique?
– Name
– Places
– Events
– People
2) What unique aspects will be included in records?
Search Tip #1: Start with the Basic Facts
9
What you put in your search form will be matched
in your search results.
Unless you “tune” your search, just one field
needs to match the record to be in your results.
Search Tip #1: Start with the Basic Facts
10
Name, location, estimated year of birth
Advanced
Search Options
Always start on
the search tab
http://search.ancestry.com/search
Search Tip #2: First and Last name filters
12
Search Tip #3: Wildcards
Try wildcards
with exact on
names to find
unusual
spellings of
names.
Sm?th*
matches
Smith, Smyth,
and Smythe.
You must
have at least
3 characters
to use a
wildcard.
13
Search Tip #3: Wildcards
• * matches zero or more characters
– Ann* matches Ann, Anne, Anna,
Annabelle, etc.
Search Tip #3: Wildcards
• * matches zero or more characters
– Ann* matches Ann, Anne, Anna,
Annabelle, etc.
• ? matches one character
– Ann? matches Anne, Anna
Types of
Locations
Lived in matches
a residence
event, such as a
census location
Any event
matches any
location in the
record
Search Tip #4: Location Filters
Search Tip #4: Location Filters
17
Start searching at the “smallest location” you know, such as a county.
Expand your search as needed.
Then select adjacent counties
and work your way out
geographically to expand your
search.
Search Tip #4: Location Filters
18
Location
filters
19
Sliders
Search Tip #5: Lifespan Filtering
• Entering only a birth year
– Assume the person lived about 100 years.
– Records returned = birth year – 5, and birthdates + 102.
Search Tip #5: Lifespan Filtering
• Entering only a birth year
– Assume the person lived about 100 years.
– Records returned = birth year – 5, and birthdates + 102.
• Entering only a death date
– Assumes the person lived about 100 years.
– Records returned = death year – 105 to death year +2.
Search Tip #6: Limit your scope
23
At the bottom of the advanced
search, you can see the types of
records you will see
Search Tip #7: Collection Priority
Search Tip #8: Use facets
25
Search Tip #9: Do a Category Search
26
Search Tip #10: Search in a Data Collection
27
What’s there is what is indexed
Lived In in Census Records will get
you that specific county
Exact means exact
Search Tip #10: Search in a Data Collection
What’s in the description?
• Source information
From Maine Marriages, 1892-1996
Search Tip #10: Search in a Data Collection
What’s in the description?
• Source information
• Data coverage
From Maine Marriages, 1892-1996
Search Tip #11: Search From Trees
30
Search Tip #12: Photos and Stories
31
What Question are You Asking
and Why You Need to Ask It
Global Search is great. Hints are
great.
It’s a quick way to get started finding
information about your ancestors.
But you need to know what you want
to know before the information is
useful.
Ask yourself, what do I want to
know?
When and where was James Smith
born?
What was Jane Jones’ maiden
name?
Now that you have the question, you
can identify where you might find the
answer.
Let’s say James Smith was likely born in
the 1800’s in South Carolina.
South Carolina didn’t have birth records
then.
There are still lots of records that will
have the information:
• Census
• Obituaries
• Marriage records
• Family bibles
• Military records
• Passenger lists
• Naturalization records
• And on, and on….
Location, Location, Location
Records are usually created at the
location the event happened.
Understanding where it might have
happened is key to your search.
Timelines!
A Life Through the Eyes of the Census
A Life Through the Eyes of the Census
With Just a Click, the Record is Part of a Tree
Now you could just save it
to your tree.
But what might you be
missing?
What Treasures are Hiding in Your Tree?
Methodology
• Find the Census
• Document what you see – EVERYTHING!
• Update your Person Timeline
• Ask yourself, what do I need to research
AND write it down
Ask Questions
What did we learn from the 1900 census?
• Aug 1832 – Adam Snavely was born in Virginia
• Oct 1841 – Mollie E was born in Virginia
• 1866 – Adam, age 34, and Mollie E, age 25, were married, most
likely in Virginia
• Aug 1871 – Mollie V Snavely was born, daughter of Adam and
most likely Mollie E
• Oct 1878 – Gordon A Snavely was born, son of Adam and most
likely Mollie E
• Apr 1882 – Effie C Snavely was born, daughter of Adam and
most likely Mollie E
What did we learn from the 1900 census?
• 1900 – Adam, Mollie E, Mollie V, Gordon A, and Effie C were all
living in Atkins, Smyth, Virginia.
• Mollie E had 6 children all of whom are reported as living.
• Only 3 are currently living with her.
• Everyone is reported as living in Virginia and having parents
born there.
What did we learn from the 1900 census?
Why are all
there so
many
women on
this page
working as
cooks?
Time to update the timeline
First, update the census information
Time to update the timeline
Add in the vital information you have found
Ask Questions
Who were the
neighbors?
Ask Questions
Who were the
neighbors?
Calhoun’s, Snavely’s
and Feazell’s
Ask Questions
Who were the
neighbors?
Calhoun’s, Snavely’s
and Feazell’s
Notice that Cora Ann
Snavely and Idella
Feazell are both
listed as cooks
Also everyone
nearby owned their
own farm
Time to update the timeline
Add in interesting neighbors and other information you might find
Create a list of research questions
Add in 1880 and 1870
The 1860 Census
Is this the right Adam?
Probable.
We believe Adam and
Mollie E were married in
1866. So he would be
living with his parents in
1860.
Birth year is 1832 and the
county, Smyth, is correct.
Adam’s presumed
father’s name is Nicholas;
he has a son named
Nicholas.
The 1860 Census
Is this the right Adam?
Possibly.
The age is off by a 8
years.
And the location is Wythe
not Smyth
The 1860 Census
The 1860 Census
• There is something strange about the age of Mary J and the
distance between Alexander and Mary J
• It is also interesting that both Nicholas and Adam own property
and have a personal estate
The 1860 Census
• 1811 – Nicholas Snavely born in Virginia
• 1815 – Molly Snavely (maiden name unknown) born in Virginia
• 1832 – Adam B Snavely born in Virginia
• 1840 – William H Snavely born in Virginia
• 1843 – Ferdinand S Snavely born in Virginia
• 1845 – Susan E Snavely born in Virginia
• 1847 – Alexander S Snavely born in Virginia
• 1859 – Mary J Snavely born in Virginia
• 1814 – Elizabeth Gross born in Virginia
The 1860 Census
Surnames on the page:
• Hutton, Camary, Goodpasture, Johnson, Hoofnagle.
Everyone on the page owns land; working as Farmers, Carpenters,
next door to Nicholas is John T Johnson, Sherriff
Who was young Mary Jane?
Adam Boyd Snavely
Nicholas Snavely
Adam Snavely
John Snavely
Barbara Snavely Philip Aker
Mary Jane Aker
Mary Jane Emma
Snavely
Update the timeline
Vital Records: Birth, Marriage
and Death
Before you look for a Vital Record,
determine if it exists
The Source and Red Book are both
available for free
Select Virginia Vital Records
Select Virginia County Resources
Summary of what was recorded and when
There are also Resources and History on the
Place Pages
Looking for Possible Locations for Virginia
Death Records in the 1850’s?
How about Augusta, Virginia?
New
guide
ever
week!
Immigration: Where did they
come from?
Try http://www.ancestry.com/immigration
How about the Ancestry.com Wiki?
http://www.ancestry.com/wiki/index.php?title=Overview_of_Immigration_Research
Immigration Records for a Specific State or Country?
Place Pages
Immigration Records for a Specific State or
Country?
Place Pages
Two Last Thoughts
Don’t always go left in
your tree
Two Last Thoughts
Share!
References and Useful Links



Where you can find me






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searching successfully to reveal your ancestor’s story on ancestry

  • 1. 1 Searching Successfully to Reveal Your Ancestor’s Story on Ancestry.com Anne Gillespie Mitchell NGS 2014
  • 2. What is our end goal? •Not a pile of papers •Not a nice organized notebook of records, images and family group sheets •We want to tell our family story 2
  • 3. How do I tell my family story Method 1: – Do a lot of research – Sit down in front of Word – Wait for divine inspiration 3
  • 6. How do I tell my family story Method 2: 1. Learn multiple ways to search 2. Build the foundation 3. Analyze what you find; write up random thoughts and ideas as you go 4. Ask yourself what should I do next? 6
  • 7. Search Tip #1: Start with the Basic Facts 7 Global searches = 31,000+ titles, 13 billion+ records
  • 8. Search Tip #1: Start with the Basic Facts 8 1) What makes your ancestor unique? – Name – Places – Events – People 2) What unique aspects will be included in records?
  • 9. Search Tip #1: Start with the Basic Facts 9 What you put in your search form will be matched in your search results. Unless you “tune” your search, just one field needs to match the record to be in your results.
  • 10. Search Tip #1: Start with the Basic Facts 10 Name, location, estimated year of birth
  • 11. Advanced Search Options Always start on the search tab http://search.ancestry.com/search
  • 12. Search Tip #2: First and Last name filters 12
  • 13. Search Tip #3: Wildcards Try wildcards with exact on names to find unusual spellings of names. Sm?th* matches Smith, Smyth, and Smythe. You must have at least 3 characters to use a wildcard. 13
  • 14. Search Tip #3: Wildcards • * matches zero or more characters – Ann* matches Ann, Anne, Anna, Annabelle, etc.
  • 15. Search Tip #3: Wildcards • * matches zero or more characters – Ann* matches Ann, Anne, Anna, Annabelle, etc. • ? matches one character – Ann? matches Anne, Anna
  • 16. Types of Locations Lived in matches a residence event, such as a census location Any event matches any location in the record Search Tip #4: Location Filters
  • 17. Search Tip #4: Location Filters 17 Start searching at the “smallest location” you know, such as a county. Expand your search as needed. Then select adjacent counties and work your way out geographically to expand your search.
  • 18. Search Tip #4: Location Filters 18
  • 21. Search Tip #5: Lifespan Filtering • Entering only a birth year – Assume the person lived about 100 years. – Records returned = birth year – 5, and birthdates + 102.
  • 22. Search Tip #5: Lifespan Filtering • Entering only a birth year – Assume the person lived about 100 years. – Records returned = birth year – 5, and birthdates + 102. • Entering only a death date – Assumes the person lived about 100 years. – Records returned = death year – 105 to death year +2.
  • 23. Search Tip #6: Limit your scope 23 At the bottom of the advanced search, you can see the types of records you will see
  • 24. Search Tip #7: Collection Priority
  • 25. Search Tip #8: Use facets 25
  • 26. Search Tip #9: Do a Category Search 26
  • 27. Search Tip #10: Search in a Data Collection 27 What’s there is what is indexed Lived In in Census Records will get you that specific county Exact means exact
  • 28. Search Tip #10: Search in a Data Collection What’s in the description? • Source information From Maine Marriages, 1892-1996
  • 29. Search Tip #10: Search in a Data Collection What’s in the description? • Source information • Data coverage From Maine Marriages, 1892-1996
  • 30. Search Tip #11: Search From Trees 30
  • 31. Search Tip #12: Photos and Stories 31
  • 32. What Question are You Asking and Why You Need to Ask It
  • 33. Global Search is great. Hints are great. It’s a quick way to get started finding information about your ancestors. But you need to know what you want to know before the information is useful.
  • 34. Ask yourself, what do I want to know? When and where was James Smith born? What was Jane Jones’ maiden name?
  • 35. Now that you have the question, you can identify where you might find the answer. Let’s say James Smith was likely born in the 1800’s in South Carolina. South Carolina didn’t have birth records then.
  • 36. There are still lots of records that will have the information: • Census • Obituaries • Marriage records • Family bibles • Military records • Passenger lists • Naturalization records • And on, and on….
  • 38. Records are usually created at the location the event happened. Understanding where it might have happened is key to your search.
  • 40. A Life Through the Eyes of the Census
  • 41. A Life Through the Eyes of the Census
  • 42. With Just a Click, the Record is Part of a Tree Now you could just save it to your tree. But what might you be missing?
  • 43. What Treasures are Hiding in Your Tree?
  • 44. Methodology • Find the Census • Document what you see – EVERYTHING! • Update your Person Timeline • Ask yourself, what do I need to research AND write it down
  • 46. What did we learn from the 1900 census? • Aug 1832 – Adam Snavely was born in Virginia • Oct 1841 – Mollie E was born in Virginia • 1866 – Adam, age 34, and Mollie E, age 25, were married, most likely in Virginia • Aug 1871 – Mollie V Snavely was born, daughter of Adam and most likely Mollie E • Oct 1878 – Gordon A Snavely was born, son of Adam and most likely Mollie E • Apr 1882 – Effie C Snavely was born, daughter of Adam and most likely Mollie E
  • 47. What did we learn from the 1900 census? • 1900 – Adam, Mollie E, Mollie V, Gordon A, and Effie C were all living in Atkins, Smyth, Virginia. • Mollie E had 6 children all of whom are reported as living. • Only 3 are currently living with her. • Everyone is reported as living in Virginia and having parents born there.
  • 48. What did we learn from the 1900 census? Why are all there so many women on this page working as cooks?
  • 49. Time to update the timeline First, update the census information
  • 50. Time to update the timeline Add in the vital information you have found
  • 51. Ask Questions Who were the neighbors?
  • 52. Ask Questions Who were the neighbors? Calhoun’s, Snavely’s and Feazell’s
  • 53. Ask Questions Who were the neighbors? Calhoun’s, Snavely’s and Feazell’s Notice that Cora Ann Snavely and Idella Feazell are both listed as cooks Also everyone nearby owned their own farm
  • 54. Time to update the timeline Add in interesting neighbors and other information you might find
  • 55. Create a list of research questions
  • 56. Add in 1880 and 1870
  • 57. The 1860 Census Is this the right Adam? Probable. We believe Adam and Mollie E were married in 1866. So he would be living with his parents in 1860. Birth year is 1832 and the county, Smyth, is correct. Adam’s presumed father’s name is Nicholas; he has a son named Nicholas.
  • 58. The 1860 Census Is this the right Adam? Possibly. The age is off by a 8 years. And the location is Wythe not Smyth
  • 60. The 1860 Census • There is something strange about the age of Mary J and the distance between Alexander and Mary J • It is also interesting that both Nicholas and Adam own property and have a personal estate
  • 61. The 1860 Census • 1811 – Nicholas Snavely born in Virginia • 1815 – Molly Snavely (maiden name unknown) born in Virginia • 1832 – Adam B Snavely born in Virginia • 1840 – William H Snavely born in Virginia • 1843 – Ferdinand S Snavely born in Virginia • 1845 – Susan E Snavely born in Virginia • 1847 – Alexander S Snavely born in Virginia • 1859 – Mary J Snavely born in Virginia • 1814 – Elizabeth Gross born in Virginia
  • 62. The 1860 Census Surnames on the page: • Hutton, Camary, Goodpasture, Johnson, Hoofnagle. Everyone on the page owns land; working as Farmers, Carpenters, next door to Nicholas is John T Johnson, Sherriff
  • 63. Who was young Mary Jane? Adam Boyd Snavely Nicholas Snavely Adam Snavely John Snavely Barbara Snavely Philip Aker Mary Jane Aker Mary Jane Emma Snavely
  • 65. Vital Records: Birth, Marriage and Death
  • 66. Before you look for a Vital Record, determine if it exists
  • 67. The Source and Red Book are both available for free
  • 68.
  • 71. Summary of what was recorded and when
  • 72. There are also Resources and History on the Place Pages
  • 73.
  • 74. Looking for Possible Locations for Virginia Death Records in the 1850’s?
  • 75. How about Augusta, Virginia?
  • 76.
  • 77.
  • 79.
  • 80.
  • 81. Immigration: Where did they come from?
  • 83. How about the Ancestry.com Wiki? http://www.ancestry.com/wiki/index.php?title=Overview_of_Immigration_Research
  • 84. Immigration Records for a Specific State or Country? Place Pages
  • 85. Immigration Records for a Specific State or Country? Place Pages
  • 86. Two Last Thoughts Don’t always go left in your tree
  • 87.
  • 89.
  • 90. References and Useful Links    Where you can find me     